Yars’ Revenge – Review

Xbox Live Arcade Title
Price: 800MSP
Singleplayer: Yes
Co-op: Local Only
Multiplayer: No

Thirty years ( was it really that long ago!?) a game called Yars’ Revenge was released and quickly became the Atari 2600’s best-selling game. It was a pixellated scrolling shooter, and it has little resemblance to the remake that Atari are now offering us on XBLA for a mere 800MSP.

In the original game you took control of a Yar – an insect like creature – as it tried to nibble or shoot his way through a massive barrier so it could fire its Zorlon Cannon into the evil Qotile. If you’re confused don’t worry, everyone else was as well.
The remake is a little different; now Yar is a sexy female decked out in fancy armour and the Qotile are an evil empire that enslaved the Yar race. Thank god the Zorlon Cannon still exists.

What we have then, is an on-rails shooter as you pilot Yar around the screen using the left stick to dodge enemy fire and the right stick to aim one of Yar’s four different weapons, which consist of an infinite pulse cannot, a rechargable rail-gun, missiles that must be replenished and your awesome Zorlon Cannon. These four weapons take up the entire top of your pad by themselves, and the four main buttons on the right of your controller are taken up by power-ups that you collect along the way. There is a bit of initial confusion as you get your head wrapped around eight different buttons you must use during combat, and it’s not exactly the most intuitive of systems either, but give it some time and you’ll be launching barrages of attacks.

The on-screen action definitely adds to the confusion as you attempt to admire the beautiful art-style and dodge the massive amount of enemy attacks coming toward you. The result can be a little frustrating as keeping track of Yar, your crosshair and enemy attacks can be a little mind-bending, as especially as some enemy attacks just blend into the colorful backgrounds.

As you progress you’ll quickly realise that you’re annihilating the same three enemy types over and over, with the only real change being the boss battles at the end of each stage. These battles are entertaining at first but offer no real challenge except for the fact they have huge health bars resulting in a solid ten minutes of patiently chipping away at the health bar.

However, the blasting action is fun and frantic with a scoring system thrown in for good measure. Killing enemies bumps up your score multiplier so you can get to the top of your friends leaderboard, but don’t kill an enemy quick enough and you lose the bonus. Oddly there are a good number of points where you simply encounter a bare patch resulting in your hard-earned 50x multiplier going down the drain for no reason of your own.

As you progress through the games six, and quite short, levels you’ll see the story portrayed through a series of static screens and text, which is a bit disappointing, but then this is just a 800MSP game. The story itself is fairly nonsensical and I found myself a little lost by time I was half way through. It doesn’t help that Yar and other characters tend to have text-based conversations in the lower right of the screen while you’re fighting for your life. Where’s the logic in that?

Yar’s Revenge is fairly enjoyable, but it’s short and repetitive. Of course, with just an 800MSP this is one of the cheaper Arcade titles out there and you will have fun, especially if you happen to be one of those weird people who loves highscore challenges.

The Good:
+ Beautiful art-style.
+ Frantic!!!!
+ Watching the multiplier go up…and up….and up.

The Bad:
– Textures are a bit bland.
– Same enemies over and over.
– What’s the plot!?


graphics: 8
A beautiful art-style is somewhat let down by flat textures.

Sound: 6
No voice acting and weapons don’t exactly sound impressive.

Story: 5
It is there, but following it and caring about it are a bit tricky.

Gameplay: 7
Fast and furious blasting action meets highscores, but it’s a shame that enemies get repeated and boss fights disappointing.

Lifespan: 6
Six levels comprise the game and they can be completed in just a few hours. Replay value comes from the highscores, but only the most score addicted players will be going back for more.

Overall: 6
Yar’s Revenge is a good attempt to bring back a beloved game, but it’s also proof that some classics should just be left along so we can have fond, nostalgic memories of them.

Categories: Reviews

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